Happy February and Happy Friday! I am so excited for this weekend because I was sick in bed both days last weekend. Plus Jeff was out of town. No fun. Now I’m better and Jeff is back so I’m looking forward to two nice, relaxing days off. How about you?
As you read this, I’m busting my butt at the gym (or as my coworker, Michael, and I like to say, "blasting my glutes.") I started a new weight routine at the beginning of January and have been doing it every other day since (with the exception of some rest days here and there and when I was sick). I have to brag, the results are pretty impressive. Honestly, this is the first I’ve seen positive results with regard to my weight in more than a year.
You see, I’ve gained a few pounds over the past year or so. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m also going to be completely honest and tell you at the beginning of January I was close to the weight I was before I lost weight in 2009. And while we’re confessing things, I’ll tell you that I was hovering just under 140 lbs. I was 143 lbs. when I started my weight loss journey in 2009. Trying to lose weight was one my main motivations for starting this blog.
Now, I know 140 might not seem like a big deal to a lot of you, but it is to me. Especially since during the summer of 2011, I was 120 lbs., strength-training at the gym and feeling awesome.
So, what happened?
I also stopped eating as healthfully. I moved to the DC area in March 2012 and couldn’t resist the new restaurants. I noticed that I was gaining weight, but at first I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t have the energy to. By May 2011, I was finally ready to make a change. I joined a gym, started running again and things were going great…until the end of June when I hurt my foot somehow and ended up in a boot cast and in physical therapy for the rest of the summer. It was October before I was completely done with physical therapy. I lost my motivation again because the anniversary of my father’s death was at the end of the month, and I just didn’t feel like going to the gym. This is me at my best friend Dara’s wedding on October 20,2012.
I finally got back into a routine in November. I was working out on the elliptical five days a week, mostly after work. Sounds good, right? The problem was I still wasn’t eating well. Jeff and I were eating dinner out a lot, and I was buying lunch out almost every day. I was nowhere near my normal, healthy eating habits (aside from still being a vegetarian). Plus, all I was doing at the gym was cardio. Not a recipe for weight loss. I stopped gaining weight but I wasn’t losing any. I was maintaining a weight I wasn’t happy with. It was very frustrating.
The holidays came and went and finally, at the end of December, I decided to start weight-training again. It had been in back of my mind for weeks. I knew I should do it. I even watched other people do it at the gym, and thought I’ll do that next time, but I never did. Another thing that was getting to me was my after-work workouts. By the time I got home from the gym, all I had time for was dinner then bed. It was really draining. When I was in college I got up at 5 a.m. just because I wanted to. There was no reason I couldn’t do that again. So I started setting my alarm for 5:15 and getting to the gym by 6:30
Now, a month after I started my early-morning weight routine, I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with it. I actually enjoy waking up early again. And, I have to tell you, weight-training is really the secret to getting in shape. Not only do I feel stronger, my muscles are more defined and I’ve lost weight! I weighed myself this morning and I’m 131lbs! Down from 138 at the beginning of the month. My clothes fit better and I have more energy overall. I never got a runner’s high from running, but I do get a high from strength-training. I love it.
I’ve also really cleaned up my diet. Jeff and I are eating out less and less, and I’ve started bringing my lunch to work every day. I hope to be back to my pre-gain weight by my birthday in March, but I’m not rushing it.
I’m so happy with my strength-training routine, I want to share it with you!
*Please note, I am not a personal trainer. What works for me might not necessarily work for you. Also, I just upped my weights after a month of doing this routine every other day. So if you try this routine, please start with the right weights for YOU.
Rebecca’s Full-Body Strength-Training Routine
Routine: Do every other day (NEVER on consecutive days). I alternate with cardio six days a week. I always take a rest day. The only muscles I work every day are my abs.
Duration: About an hour with warm-up and cool down.
Weights needed: One body bar (I started with 24lb, now I’m up to 30), Two sets of dumbbells (I use 10 and 12lbs now- started with 8 and 10), One heavier dumbbell (I use 15lbs-think I’m about to move up to 20).
How it’s done: I do two strength moves back to back with 30-60 second breaks in between. I wait 60 seconds before moving on to my next set of strength moves. For example, I’ll do one set of squats, followed immediately by one set of shoulder presses, wait for 30-60 seconds, and then do the next set)
Warm Up: Butt kicks, jumping jacks, arm swings, squats without weights
- Weighted Squats and Shoulder Presses: 3 sets, 12 reps of squats, 10 reps of shoulder presses. Weights used: 30lb body bar, 12lb dumbbells
- Weighted lunges and Bicep Curls: 3 sets, 10 reps of lunges on each side, 10 reps of bicep curls. Weights used: 30lb body bar, 12lb dumbbells
- Deadlifts and Tricep Extensions: 3 sets, 12 reps of deadlifts, 12 reps of tricep extensions. Weights used: 30lb body bar, one 15lb dumbbell
- Good Mornings and Tricep Kickbacks: 3 sets, 12 reps of good mornings, 10 reps of tricep kickbacks. Weights used: 30lb body bar, 10lb dumbbells
- Bent Over Rows and Chest Flies: 3 sets, 10 reps each. Weights used: 10lb dumbbells
- Plank with Knee Twists, Bicycle Crunches and Bridges: 2 sets, 30 reps of knee twists and crunches, 3 reps of bridges-holding for ten seconds each. Weights used: None
Cool Down: Stretch like you’ve never stretched before.
There you have it- the weight routine that’s been working for me. Again, I take 30-60 seconds between each set, and always a full minute or more before moving on to the next set of strength moves. It’s not an easy routine so please ease into it if you’re new to strength-training. I did something very similar to this when I was strength-training in 2011 which is how know it works for me. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to explain everything in more detail if you’re interested in making this routine your own.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my weight on the scale every time I’ve stepped onto it this month. I feel great and I know if I keep it up I’ll feel even better by March- no matter what the scale says!
Do you love/hate strength-training? What’s your favorite way to work out?
Have a great weekend!